Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Val, in time.

 So, that's my customary February 14th greeting. It sort of goes along with this...

... as a more inclusive pushback to the traditional narrative surrounding the day. It seems that a lot of folks at my college must feel the same way, because the amicable gift-giving was impressive:

That's the pile of goodies that showed up as the day progressed: friendly colleagues and collegial friends expressing goodwill through flowering plants and sugary snacks (although that plate includes a heart-shaped bagel for the more savory palate).

A day that celebrates widespread kindness - now that's a holiday to celebrate.

Of course, that doesn't mean we need to abandon all the iconography... let's just re-purpose it.

(That's pre-Munsters Yvonne DeCarlo, btw.)
Happy Pal-entine's Day to you all! And just so the pun in the title makes sense:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Spit take

So, Coco and I did one of those spit-in-the-tube DNA deals, mostly at her urging, because she has gotten more than a little hooked on doing her genealogy right now. After mailing the packets back and not a very long wait, we just got the results. Here's my little map:

No surprises here.

My genome presents 51% East Europe, pegged down to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland & Lithuania, I presume based on some specific markers. Since my pop's family was Polish, this is all pretty straightforward.

The report also shows 38% Southern Italy, based on markers from South Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. My mother's family was from Naples, so this makes sense. The family name on my Italian side means "The Greek", so I always imagined my remote antecedents originally came from east of Italy, and the indicators from Eurasia support this bit of personal mythologizing.

In any event, my "Ethnicity Estimate" matches to 89% what I have said since I was a kid in the schoolyard: I am of Polish and Italian descent.

There are some not-totally-unexpected traces of other Mediterranean chromosomes in there (appearing at what they call "low confidence" levels): Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, West Europe, and a little European Jewish. Nothing to make me question any family history. The only two ringers are some low confidence results for Great Britain and the Indian subcontinent: I never knew I had any connection to the British Empire, let alone a genetic one. Who knows what those results actually mean.

There we have it. And what of it?

Nothing much, really. I have always contended that my genetic make up meant little to me, that the person I am was based on the people who cared for me as I grew up (whether I was technically related to them or not), the experiences I had, and the choices I made as a result. This test didn't change that position, and if the results had been widely different from what I expected, I imagine I would have felt mild curiosity at the misalignment, but no change in my identity.

Having grown up with first-generation American parents who had totally bought into the assimilation model of immigration, exploring heritage for its own sake was never seen as being of much value. I also recognize that being white in American culture meant the specifics of my ethnicity as I was growing up did not loom as large they otherwise might have. In any case, I have never developed the habit of caring much about my heritage beyond my family of origin.

Other than the new (and horrifying) potential of someone creating a Walaka-clone, this exercise was pretty much a fun diversion, and not much more. We'll see what Coco says, though.